Universities Won’t Pass Online Enrollment Savings onto You but You’re Still Saving Money

The University of Heidelberg, the aula

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There’s a very good reason why the majority of universities across the country and the world are starting to embrace students getting their educations and degrees exclusively through online means. It has little to do with the overwhelming ease and obvious perks of getting to study at home or wherever you wish which has been part of the construct of online college for more than a decade, and everything to do with universities becoming increasingly strapped for cash, and their realization that it’s cheaper for both the university and the student to obtain a degree digitally.

Why pay for a professor to devote her whole week to lecturing when you can pay her 25% less by having her do 25% less work? Why greenlight the go-ahead to build a new multi-million dollar wing of the science building if introductory courses can be put online and the preexisting space made available for labs? Printing costs will be lowered. Enrollment rates could be doubled, tripled, even quadrupled, if limited space is no longer a concern. 

You’d think universities would therefore make online education cheaper, since it saves them a lot of money. You’d think wrong though. The truth is the average online degree is going to cost about as much as the typical degree gained through traditional enrollment. Part of the reason is simply – because they can get away with it since most people don’t stop to consider the economics of the situation. Another contributing cause of their lack of discount degrees is that doing so can cheapen the degree itself, at least seemingly so. If online degrees cost far less than traditional ones, there would be accusations that the education is inferior.

That’s a bit of a self-serving excuse for most universities, but it makes sense. They also need to protect the role of traditional academia. Marking down online schooling will mean everybody will opt out of real life classrooms, which might be devastating to the schools ability to acquire government subsidies or other entitlements and donations.

But it doesn’t mean getting your degree online doesn’t save you money. It most certainly does. You won’t need to worry about transportation expenses, whether it be the cost of petro, the price of bus fare or the strains of train ticket purchases. Room and board are added burdens of existing inside of a traditional university environment that are removed when you get educated over the Internet. Also, additional expenses justified by your use of equipment (i.e. lab fees) are eradicated as well.

Online university options are quickly becoming accepted by the majority of society as worthy ways to get degrees. No longer are people afraid of the stigma of an online education nor are academic institutions afraid of investing in an unproven tactic. It’s abundantly clear that those who learn online wind up just as qualified as those who learn in traditional settings. It’s also abundantly clear that online MBA programs save money for all parties involved.

Brought to you by Strayer University.

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